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When Self-Interest Overshadows Integrity

integrity leadership Jun 19, 2018

Like many people in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, I watched him every July. I was mesmerized by his willingness to compete, and more importantly by his ability to win. Seven consecutive Tour De France victories - no small feat by any stretch of the imagination. And I remember the pride I felt as an American each year he won, knowing the United States of America was represented well by a true champion (or so I thought). And I remember him being asked whether or not he was going to be the next Greg Lemond, to which he confidently replied, “I’m not the next Greg LeMond. I’m the first Lance Armstrong.” And he was. And he still is, but in a much different light than he may have originally anticipated.

I don’t think anyone reading this would argue that Lance Armstrong didn’t have extraordinary talent and giftedness. Yet, when talent is overshadowed by a lack of integrity and self-absorption, it means nothing. We would rather root for the...

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The Role of Integrity in Leading & Empowering Others

When I was a young leader with the Walgreens Corporation, I had a District Manager tell me, “Don’t ever do anything that causes someone to question your integrity. If you lead and manage people long enough, I promise you a situation will arise when it’s all you have to rely on.”

There’s a lot of truth in what my DM told me that day in my store. I’ve taken it to heart ever since. And on more than one occasion in my career, I had situations come up where it was just my word against the word of someone else. Don’t get me wrong, I made plenty of mistakes - I still do at times! And I’m sure you do too.

When it comes to character-based leadership, having integrity may be the most critical. Having integrity builds trust between people. Not having it can lead to disastrous consequences. Colonel Eric Kail states in his Washington Post article, Leadership Character: The Role of Integrity, “That definition (doing the right thing when...

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Developing Trust By Asking Better Questions

Uncategorized Jun 04, 2018

Great coaches ask great questions. Some of the best leaders I’ve had the opportunity to work with were coaches first and leaders second. It’s not uncommon to hear leaders say, “I wish my people brought more solutions to me than problems.” Although this isn’t the answer in every case, team members will often share more solutions when their leaders start asking better questions. It’s easy to fall into the trap of telling people what to do.  It’s easier, and it takes less time. However, this is really management, not leadership. Leadership is influence. And it’s hard to gain trust, increase our influence, and obtain buy-in when all we are doing is giving directives, which ultimately dis-empowers people by the way. If you want to start empowering your team members, ask more questions.

The challenge is when we move up in organizations, it feels natural to ask fewer questions and give more commands. Think about it - we have different...

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Professional Development Programs & Why Some of it Disgusts Me…

I am a big proponent of lifelong learning and professional development. To be honest, it’s how I make my living as a business and leadership development coach. With that in mind, the intent of this article is not to undermine professional development in any way, or its necessity in both personal and organizational development. I’ve personally witnessed the impact it often has on individuals and organizations alike that are both committed to it, and who buy-in to the process. When engaged in properly, professional development can be life changing, and can have huge impacts on a company’s bottom-line.

As someone in the industry, I’ve become jaded with a lot of the programs available that are being actively promoted as personal growth and development. In other words, low-ticket and high-ticket items alike that have little substance to them whatsoever. I don’t care whether someone invests $97, $297, or $4997, value needs to be delivered to those...

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Business & The Consequences of Bare Minimum Leadership

Unfortunately, we live in a world where the “bare minimum” has practically become common practice, and as a result, many view it as acceptable behavior. For many, when it comes to their health, they do the “bare minimum” in the gym. For many, when it comes to their own personal growth and development, or their education, they also do the “bare minimum.” In other words, “just enough to get by.” And it’s no different in the world of business. At the end of the day, the majority of managers in the workforce today also do the “bare minimum” when it comes to leading and developing their people, and consequently, organizational results are often sub-par, turnover is high, and the bottom-line is drastically impacted.

With that being said, good leaders do a number of things well. For instance, they create a positive workplace environment; they nurture their people; and they equip them with the tools and resources they need to...

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Stay Within Your Sweet Spot & Maximize Your R.O.I.

What I’m about to share with you is counter-intuitive to what you and I have been taught within our culture. Unfortunately, many people (and many organizations I might add) still buy-in to this principle, and it’s detrimental to the long-term success of their business and/or the likelihood of whether or not they will reach their full potential in life. Here’s what I want to share with you: Stop focusing on your weaknesses! The more time you spend trying to improve upon things you are not good at, the less you stay within your unique talents and skill-sets, which are ultimately the things that will give you the greatest return on your investment of time, money, energy and resources. Have you heard of the Pareto Principle? If not, it’s pretty simply to explain. It basically states that the top 20% of your priorities are responsible for 80% of your results. And it’s no different when it comes to staying in your Strength Zone – also known as your...

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Without Purpose, Financial Incentives Can Be Meaningless & Cause Mistrust

As someone with extensive experience in managing businesses and leading team members, I understand first-hand the challenges that come with disengagement in the workplace. And when you consider organizations, especially small businesses that often operate with tight budgetary restraints, disengagement can be extremely costly. Whether it’s lost customers, or lack of productivity on the job, business owners want and need a solution, and they need it fast! Unfortunately, the solution is seldom easy. There’s no “quick fix” when it comes to increasing team member engagement. The good news, however, is that it can be done – that is, if you the owner, are courageous enough to lead the way with purpose.

As a consultant, I often discover that small business owners encounter very specific stumbling blocks when it comes to understanding how to effectively manage, lead, and motivate their teams. And it isn’t their fault! Many of them get into the world of...

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Americans Hate Their Jobs? Shocking!

I recently came across a headline that read “Americans Hate Their Jobs.” And at one time, I was one of them. And because of that, every time I give a talk on the importance of purpose in our life and work, I always talk about engagement, or better yet, the lack of engagement in the workplace today.

Did you know that approximately 70% of employees are disengaged in their jobs? Nearly 20% poison the workplace. And this results in $550 billion annually in lost productivity. In other words, employers would be better off paying these people to stay home. The sad thing is most organizations don’t and won’t do anything about it. We love to avoid confrontation, and as a result, we have allowed disengagement to become acceptable in our workplace cultures. And it all boils down to a few things prevalent in many organizations today:

  • Lack of purpose
  • “Leaders” who are really “Managers,” and
  • Employees who are unwilling to ante-up and leave

This...

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On Adversity, Overcoming, & Moving Toward Triumph

A good friend of mine recently told me that our whole goal in life should be to learn to trust. If that’s the ultimate objective, although I do surprise myself at times, I still have a long way to go. How about you?

You see, I started my business and leadership coaching and training company, Clutch Consulting, seven years ago. In some regards it has been the most rewarding and satisfying years of my life. On the other hand, at times, it has tested my sanity and whether or not I’m on the right path for the long term in fulfilling my unique purpose in life. Yet, I continue to have faith, and I continue to trust – well, sometimes. I admit, some days are better than others.

The “difference maker” is this (and I teach this to the individuals I work with and coach): Even though I’m sometimes uncertain of what the future may hold, I still take action anyway. And despite whatever adversity or obstacles stand in my way, I make the decision daily to...

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Why People Really Choose to Follow Their Leaders...

leadership Apr 17, 2018

In last week’s blog post, I ended with a quote by John Maxwell: “If people do not have trust in you as a leader, they will not respect nor want to follow you.” An Afghan Proverb also states, “If you think you’re leading and no one is following you, then you’re only taking a walk.” There’s a lot of truth in both of these statements, and it begs us to consider what it is that makes those we lead choose to either follow us or not.

As a Certified Trainer with The John Maxwell Team, I have access to a lot of John’s resources and teachings to share with others, as well as to continue my own personal and professional growth. Recently, I was listening to a call with John on why people choose to follow their leaders. But before we dive in to this week’s post, I think it’s important to point out that, first and foremost, leadership is not a position. Great leadership can exist, or not exist, at any level in an organization....

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